Saddened by national anthemby Ruth Stoltzfus Jost, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, Jacob Sider Jost, Laura Sider Jost, Micah Stoltzfus Jost, David Stoltzfus Jost, John Fairfield, Kathryn Stoltzfus Fairfield, Peter Fairfield, Bethany Versluis Fairfield, Andrew Fairfield
It is with real sadness that we read that Goshen (Ind.) College will play our nation’s battle anthem followed by a prayer at sports events (see page 8). Doing this reenacts our nation's primary ritual of its civil religion that so skillfully hijacks reverence for God to create quasi-reverence for the state. It is stunning that an action of such theological and historical resonance was recommended by a task force drawn primarily from the athletic department.
The misplaced idea that civil religion rituals are "hospitality" for others ignores the content and the unconscious power of the ritual that counterfeits the identity and loyalty belonging to God alone. Is it possible that Goshen is simply missing the religious nature of the national anthem ritual in the United States? The superb teaching we value from Goshen faculty frankly puts to shame the thin and wishful rationale the administration propounds for this action. We believe the rationale will be forgotten in a season, but our family's distress for a school we have loved will continue until this decision is reversed. We commit to further dialogue and will keep Goshen in our prayers.
Associated Article: Goshen College will play national anthem before sporting events
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